The Future and Past Selves – A One Sided Relationship?

Pokemon Eevee Evolution Wallpaper Moon Eeveelutions Past Future Self

You may have noticed that in a couple of my early reviews I’ve mentioned the concept of my “Past Self”. It’s not something we think about very often, but right now we are a very different person than we used to be even a year ago. I was put onto this line of thought by an episode of How I Met Your Mother (which is hilarious, by the way), in which two of the characters continually put off a job for their “Future Selves” to deal with. Of course a time comes where the job needs to be completed, so they are left doing the work their “Past Selves” left for them.

It’s worth some thought. Every action you take will influence your future self in some way. If we consider that self as a separate individual, as they very much are, will they thank you for what you have done to them? It’s a very one-sided relationship, really, since you can’t reprimand or thank your past self for what they’ve done. And even if you could, would it be fair? Back when you made the decision in question you didn’t have the information you do now. I know I’ve looked back and thought that some of the things I’ve done have been stupid, but they do say that hindsight is 20/20.

Legend of Zelda Link Young Old Past Future

You know how hard it is to find a decent picture of adult Link and young Link together? Really hard. So this will have to do.

Armed with this new-found knowledge that everything you do will affect your future self, what are you going to do about it? These days I actively try to do things for my future self. Going away for a few weeks? Fresh sheets on the bed for when I come back. They’re small things, but they mean that I get on with past self pretty well because he takes care of me. It’s a little galling that there’s so little I can do for him though, it being limited to respecting decisions he has made in the past and the work he has done.

But…what if your past self was someone you really didn’t know at all? Could you trust them? Minori’s visual novel “Ef – A Fairy Tale of the Two” features Chihiro Shindou who, very much like in the movie “50 First Dates”, cannot store new memories and has to rely on whatever the her of yesterday writes down in her notebook in order to know what’s going on. Imagine waking up in the morning without a care in the world, then finding out that you’re actually living years in the future from your last memory. Yesterday you were 18, fresh out of high school, and now you’re married with two kids; it’s an exaggeration, though an entirely plausible one. There’s a little more to it in Chihiro’s case, but I’m sure we can all appreciate how horrible it would be to have to confront such a situation (and then do it again each and every day for the rest of your life).

Ef  A Fairy Tale of the Two Chihiro Shindou Wallpaper

I know the title of the article is “The Future Self”, but this new line of thought suggests that the past self is more important than I first implied. What if you couldn’t escape your past self? You would have extreme trouble holding down all but the simplest job (unless your condition began after you have received training), any sort of romance would be awkward at best (though my previous examples both give the idea that it’s possible) and perhaps the most distressing of all deficits would be the inability to grow as a person. You would have to start from the same point each and every morning, limiting any sort of learning you might achieve. There’s a rather morbid silver lining to all this though: you would never have to suffer through more than one day of this in your entire life, because you wouldn’t remember all the days that had already gone by.

So how about you all: What do you do for your Future Self? Do you get on well with your Past Self?

Ef  A Fairy Tale of the Two Chihiro Shindou Wallpaper Silhouette

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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9 Responses to The Future and Past Selves – A One Sided Relationship?

  1. rikuo06 says:

    Rather than not being able to escape her past self, wouldn’t Chihiro’s situation better be described as being disconnected from her past self, except through whatever her past self decided to preserve in her notebook? Instead, we’re the ones who cannot escape our past selves, who are bound to live with our mistakes, regrets, and bad memories, whether we’d like to or not. Meanwhile, Chihiro could literally, if she decided to, erase her past up to the point where she contracted her condition. So which one is scarier really, living disconnected to your past, or never being able to escape it?

    Just a note to potential readers of Ef: Chihiro’s memory loss is a little bit more nuanced than the gal’s in “50 First Dates.” She can no longer store new long-term memories, but her short-term memories last approximately 13 hours. So it’s not like a hard reset at some particular time of the day or whenever she goes to sleep, unless she oversleeps. Even then, besides her diary, she does have memories of memories, and memories of memories of memories and so forth, so important people and events to her can stay a little longer, albeit much more vaguely. The story does an excellent job in establishing and using these details to great effect, in my opinion. Heart-rending effect, even.

    To actually answer your questions though: I don’t really do much for my Future Self, since I’m a lazy bum, and my Future Self will probably also be a lazy bum and won’t deserve it. My Past Self is a jerk. (I think a certain series of Calvin & Hobbes strips is relevant here.)

    • Silvachief says:

      I suppose it depends on what you define as her Past Self. In my post I consider the her before she had the accident to be her Past Self, and it’s that Chihiro that she resets to each morning, with only the knowledge she managed to preserve by thinking about it just before she went to bed. I don’t really consider the Chihiro of the day before as her Past Self, because that Chihiro more or less ceases to exist. It’s true that if she has a bad day she can forget about it by not writing in her diary, but it is impossible for her to progress from who she was just before the accident – thus the being unable to escape. We may be unable to erase the bad memories we have, but the difference between us and Chihiro is that we have the ability to move on and become someone different.

      That description of Chihiro’s condition is pretty good, but I would add that, barring whatever memories she’s had in the past 13 hours, she is the Chihiro from before her accident. I can’t remember if it’s mentioned explicitly, but there are scenes where she wakes up in the morning and has to come to terms with the fact that her body has grown since the last point she remembers. Chihiro’s route was by far my favorite part of Ef; the other routes didn’t really catch my interest.

  2. Annalyn says:

    Interesting post!
    My mom always likes to leave things clean before she goes on trips, and I’ve picked up the habit from her. I like to come home to clean dishes and a nicely made bed (which also means less worry of bugs creeping between the sheets while I was gone).
    The other thing I like to do for my future self, and should do more often, is journal. A journal helps me when my memory fails. It captures what a camera and a Facebook album can’t. It reminds me of the good times as well as the bad, and shows me how I’ve grown. It gives me an opportunity to reflect and learn. It also helps me to straighten out my thoughts, which cleans out chaos from my mind and makes my life easier. I might not need my journal as badly as Chihiro needs her notebook, but it’s still important, and if I’m considerate of my future self, I make a point to sit down and write in it.
    Most recently, my old journals helped me as I was writing a toast for my sister’s wedding. I wanted to remember when I’d found out she and Bro-in-Law were together, and what I thought when I first met him. Most of that didn’t end up in the speech, but it made me smile as I re-read my own account. I get annoyed with my past self when I look in my journal and see that I wrote nothing for a week or two. Even though my journal isn’t always used as a diary (sometimes I just write out prayers or notes and responses from sermons or presentations), everything in it weaves into a story, my story… I probably should get my journal out now, actually, since I haven’t written anything except sermon notes since before my sister’s wedding, and that’s kind of a big life event. 😛

    • Silvachief says:

      A journal is one of those things that I often toy with the idea of keeping, but never actually get round to it >.< The last time I kept one was during a trip to San Francisco/Las Vegas a few years back and re-reading it always makes me smile so i'm not sure why I don't do it more often. I suspect that my normal life isn't nearly so entertaining though XD Still, in the future i'll be able to look back at what I was writing, so i've got that at least.

      I'm not one for formal self-reflection. My course puts a big emphasis on reflecting on your past experiences to make yourself a better doctor, but that's just not how I work. I prefer to allow myself to be molded by what's going on around me rather than actively devoting time to look back at past events. That's just me though.

      And good on you! The cleanliness thing is a big one for me too – when I get back from a trip it's amazing to know that I can start doing whatever I want when I get home without having to worry about anything =)

  3. Ah, I love How I Met Your Mother! Ted Moseby can really teach us some good lessons sometimes.
    But yeah, I also do the fresh sheets thing when I go on vacation. It feels so good to come home to a tidy room, and be able to lay down in a clean bed after travelling for hours (: Maybe I should work on this some more though, doing favours for my “future self”.

  4. froggykun says:

    Perhaps because I’m an historian, but I don’t really think of time as something all that linear. Instead, I see it as a network, where every moment that is ever lived is made up of influences of past, present and projection towards the future. As a result, I think of my past, present and future self as inextricably intertwined, and I don’t really leave any part of myself behind. But to answer your question directly, I think my past self and I get along pretty well. Obviously there are things I regret, but if I didn’t accept who I was back then I’d have a hard time liking who I am now. As for what I’ll be doing in the future, who knows! Hopefully, it’ll be fun, right?

    • Silvachief says:

      I personally like to Back to the Future model of time, where each possible action results in a new timeline branching off from the old one so that time has an infinite number of branches and possibilities. It’s not so much that I leave my past self behind as it is that he was a building block that has been added to in order to become who I am today. He’s still with me, but he’s only part of who I am and so I consider myself a different individual. I’m not sure how that lines up with your view, so I apologize if i’ve misinterpreted something.

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